- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Player again

Steve Smith, the former editor of U.S. News & World Report who came in from the cold to be a vice president (for communications) at Brookings Institution, is back in the business.

He was named yesterday as the chief of the Washington bureau of the Houston Chronicle.

One of his claims to fame is that he has been a senior editor of all three major newsmagazines — he was executive editor at Newsweek and editor of the Nation section at Time. He also has been the editor of National Journal, founding editor of Civilization magazine and senior editor of Horizon magazine.

But he’s a newspaperman at heart, having worked on the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Globe and the Albany Times-Union.

“I’m delighted to be back in the game,” he says. (This is the way editors talk, saying it in ever fewer words.)

Northern exposure

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin yesterday welcomed President Bush to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, where reporters — unlike in the White House — still must adhere to proper decorum.

“For all press (correspondents, crews and photographers) planning to attend the president’s joint press availability on Tuesday — jeans and T-shirts will not be permitted,” the White House warned members of its traveling press corps. “Gentlemen must wear jackets.”

Additional “Protocol Essentials” were provided by the White House protocol chief aboard Air Force One en route to Ottawa.

“[C]anadians have customs including firm handshakes for people they meet and customary hellos upon greeting, though the French speakers go with ‘Bonjour,’” said the White House pool report. “In Quebec, don’t give thumbs-down gesture, as it is ‘considered offensive’ …

“Canadian expression ‘eh’ — pronounced ‘AY’ — means ‘you know?’ or ‘isn’t it?’ but we may not encounter it since it is ‘used mostly in rural areas.’”

Good times

When former President Jimmy Carter’s not swinging a hammer, he’s writing books. Lots of books.

By our count, the nation’s 39th president is now an author 20 times over with his latest tome “Sharing Good Times.” Its cover shows a beaming Mr. Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, knee-deep in a Kodiak, Alaska, stream clutching trophy fish (“The salmon and the Steelhead were released immediately after the photograph was taken,” assures the book jacket).

So what’s left for Mr. Carter to write about after penning books on history, political science, religion and the technique of negotiation, a novel about the Revolutionary War, poetry and a presidential memoir based on his six-thousand-page detailed diary?

“The things that matter most,” he writes. Like hunting and fishing.

Just four months ago, as he writes, Mr. Carter and his wife journeyed to remote Kamchatka peninsula in Russia to spend six days floating down the Zhupanova River fishing for “large and powerful rainbow trout” unaccustomed to man-made flies.

“This is an especially wild region,” he notes, “125 miles from the nearest house, and we were surprised to learn that we were nearer New York than Moscow.”

He particularly enjoyed seasonal quail hunting trips to Texas with Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart who spent “nine months running his skyrocketing business and three months running his bird dogs.”

“Sam had a small twin-engine airplane, which was less for human passengers than for his four dogs. They ran freely throughout the cabin, which had the overpowering odor of a kennel,” Mr. Carter says.

And how did Mr. Walton make Wal-Mart the most profitable retailer in the world?

“In the still dark morning, Sam was awake and on the telephone with his headquarters in Arkansas, discussing the prices and quantities of individual sale items,” Mr. Carter recalls. “I was also awake, able to hear every word through the paper-thin walls of the dilapidated house trailer that formed his [hunting] camp: ‘The men’s corduroy jackets are not moving. Cut the price to $13.95.’”

Olender’s heroes

The Jack Olender Foundation this evening hosts its 19th annual awards gala at the Ronald Reagan Center, where 500 guests will hear tributes to the most eclectic group of awardees — a crime fighter, soldier, politician, surgeon and rabbi.

Top celebrity billing goes to John Walsh, host of “America’s Most Wanted,” for championing victims’ rights, while Army Cpl. J.R. Martinez, who was seriously burned by a land mine in Iraq last year, will be recognized for his work with the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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